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B2B Brands Tap into the Power of LinkedIn’s Paid Advertising

At times it can seem like LinkedIn’s role in the social media world is to play the adult stuck at a birthday party full of screaming kids at a Chuck E. Cheese.

Admittedly, we all can enjoy a good dive into a colorful ball pit when younger, but somebody must pay the bills and drive the tired troops home at the end of the night.

LinkedIn, for our money, has always been sitting at the head of the “adult table” as the most important organic social media channel for b2b brands.

“If your business message is sandwiched between the skateboarder and your best friend’s vacation photos, it’ll feel out of place,” LinkedIn says in its new “Fish Out of Water” advertising campaign released in March.

The campaign’s good-natured dig at TikTok and Instagram drives home a point: where exactly do you want your b2b message positioned.

LinkedIn: Do Business Where Business is Done

Last summer, after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and during social unrest across the country, both hot-button topics that spilled over onto social media,inlytics-linkedin-analytics-tool-h4qSn5twfls-unsplash (1) LinkedIn Marketing Solutions released a campaign based on the concept of “Do Business Where Business is Done”.

“Doing business in 2020 is remarkably different than we could have imagined,” wrote LinkedIn’s Senior Director of Global Marketing, Keith Richey. “And while marketing in this climate can be challenging and nuanced, there’s never been a better time to revisit how (and where) your brand shows up.“

Brands evidently paid attention as Microsoft, LinkedIn’s parent company, announced in April that LinkedIn’s ad business brought in more than $3 billion in revenue during the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2021, outpacing competitors such as Pinterest and Snap.

Room to Grow: LinkedIn’s Paid Advertising

Microsoft’s excitement at LinkedIn’s success was highlighted by CEO Satya Nadella pointing out that LinkedIn Marketing Solutions unit revenue was up 60+ percent in the past 12 months and up a whopping 53 percent in the last quarter.

The numbers could mean that paid advertising on LinkedIn is joining its organic social channel as a popular and effective b2b inbound marketing strategy.

And there is plenty of room for growth with eMarketer research showing that LinkedIn’s share of U.S. digital ad revenue was just 1.4 percent in 2021, up from 1.2 percent in 2019, compared to:

  • Google 28.7 percent
  • Facebook 25.4 percent
  • Amazon 10. 7 percent

Brands taking advantage of LinkedIn’s ad offerings include Adobe, American Express and Chase. Options on the platform include:

  • Sponsored content appearing in feeds.
  • Sponsored messages.
  • Ads that drive LinkedIn users to register for an event or set up a demo.

3 Pillars of B2B Marketing on LinkedIn Platform

Richey in his article last summer argues that companies do not have to choose between brand marketing and lead generation but can achieve both on the LinkedIn platform.

“The truth is that while you could prioritize one or the other, based on your strategy and goals, building a strong foundation in both will enable your organization to simultaneously pursue the bottom-line results that drive your business in the short term, and the upper-funnel growth that makes these results sustainable in the long run,” says Richey.

To build that foundation, Richey highlights three pillars that brands can use:

1.     Reaching Buyers With the Power to Act

The success in a b2b campaign often hinges on reaching those people with the ability to influence business decisions. LinkedIn has targeting tools that allow advertisers to focus their message on specific job titles, roles, behaviors, interests.

2.     Driving Meaningful Engagement

LinkedIn’s defined role in an often-frenetic social media world cuts through a lot of noise. Its purpose has remained resolutely over the years to be a destination for people to connect, explore and find out information in a professional setting. The result is that LinkedIn is perfect place for meaningful b2b conversations and relationship-building.

3.     Building Trust Along the Way

A 2019 survey found that LinkedIn was the most trusted social media platform, ranking at the top of the following categories:

  • Confidence in data
  • Feels safe participating
  • Least annoying ads
  • Leads deceptive content

While there is always going to be some variables and a degree of  unknown when you market and advertise on social media channels, it is a good bet that your message will be surrounded by others on LinkedIn that are trusted and respected.

So, when it is all said and done, we love a good pizza party, a spot-on cat meme, or watching a funny chihuahua video compilation, but when it comes time for b2b branding you will likely find us over in the corner with the other adults on LinkedIn.